You have made the decision to hire a more diverse group of people for your web design team. Well, first—congratulations! This is a big decision that will have a profound impact on your company, your community and the entire industry. People of color make up roughly 15 percent of the tech workforce. Sadly, they are not well represented in management positions. So your decision to hire web designers from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds is very important—hats off to you.
Now, let’s talk about how to find diverse talent. For starters, there are a couple of excellent organizations that promote tech education in minority communities. Black Girls Code (BGC) and Code2040 are two San Francisco-based non-profit organizations impacting the industry. While BGC focuses on African American girls in sixth to 12th grade, Code2040 focuses on tech students in college and university and new tech professionals from Black and Latinx communities. Both organizations aim to guide minorities through online and in-person mentorship with experts in the field.
Web design bootcamps are another excellent way to hire diverse web designers. These short-term, intensive coding programs help students break into their first career-oriented position. Many of these students come from diverse backgrounds and may be members of BGC and Code2040. Bootcamps also train people aiming to make a career switch into the booming tech industry.
If you require applicants to hold a four-year computer science degree, you may be missing out on some excellent professionals. Since web design bootcamps prepare students in less than a year, graduates spend an intensively focused amount of time learning the necessary skills to be a successful web designer.
Alright, let’s take a closer look at these two NGOs, as well as web design bootcamps.
Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code is striving to impact the lives of one million African American girls in grades six to 12th by teaching them the coding skills they need to become successful tech professionals. The NGO aims to do this until 2040. BGC teaches the programming languages of Scratch and Ruby on the Rails with classes taught by experienced tech professionals. These top-notch tech professionals also serve as mentors during BGC hackathons. Hackathons are competitions where student teams compete in building apps, games and programming tools. These are “girls only” events and they help reinforce the skills students learn in the classroom.
Code2040 is on a mission to promote the tech careers of 150,000 professionals from Black and Latinx communities. The NGO executes its mission by dismantling roadblocks that impede the ability to serve in management positions. It does so in a way that represents the current 15 percent of the tech population that identifies as Black or Latinx. It is achieving this goal through two main initiatives.
First, Code2040 has fellowship programs that place college and graduate-level students in summer internships at top tech companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley—two of the world’s talent-filled tech hubs. There, participants gain experience through an intense and subversive career accelerator.
Code2040 also hosts an Early Career Accelerator Program (EACP), which helps new tech professionals grow, prepare and advance into management positions in the tech industry by pairing them with experienced mentors.
Web Design Bootcamps
Web design bootcamps are another excellent outlet to find qualified, diverse and tech industry ready applicants. These short-term, intensive coding bootcamps teach students in less than a year what traditionally takes two to four years to learn. They accomplish this by cutting away the irrelevant fluff and allowing students to focus intensely on what is vital to becoming a successful web designer.
Guest post by Artur Meyster of Career Karma